JUST ONE WORD
– THE TONGUE (AL-LISAN)
- The tongue is such an important organ.
- It is one of the most serious aspects of a person that has to be corrected.
- It has huge repercussions on a person and others.
- Correcting the tongue is linked with iman.
- The believer speaks only the good.
- The tongue is an amana/trust from Allah and so it must be used correctly.
- From the tongue, we can create good (e.g. use it for the da`wa to make Allah’s call and defend Allah’s din) or bad (lying, backbiting, swearing, staying silent over the munkar, etc.).
- The Prophet mentions in a hadith:
|“I was sent by Allah to perfect manners”.||
إنما بعثت لأتمم مكارم الأخلاق…
|“I was sent by Allah to perfect good character”.||
إنما بعثت لأتمم صالح الأخلاق…
- Thus, in this statement, the Prophet mentions what one of his missions, duties and job was, i.e. why he was sent and it is to perfect the manners of all people.
- To perfect mankind in their dealings with each other as people (good akhlaq) – speaking, behaving, etc.
- There are different ‘pivots’ for manners or areas in which manners can be perfected: one important area = the tongue (al-lisan).
- Mu`adh b. Jabal (ra) once asked the Prophet about what action he could do to get closer to Allah: The Prophet replied what protects you from your Hellfire is your tongue:
|“[…] he took hold of his tongue and said: curb this thing. I asked: O messenger of Allah, will be asked about what we speak? He said: may your mother lose you, o Mu`adh! Don’t you know that people will be dragged into the Hellfire on their faces or their noses because of what their tongues spoke?”||
…فأخذ بلسانه، قال: كف عليك هذا. فقلت : يا نبي الله وإنا لمؤاخذون بما نتكلم به؟ فقال : ثكلتك أمك يا معاذ، وهل يكب الناس في النارعلى وجوههم، أو على مناخرهم، إلا حصائد ألسنتهم…
- Mu`adh asked surprisingly whether Muslims would be judged for what they say and so the Prophet replied: thakilatka ummuk – (meaning: ‘may your mother lose you!’) i.e. a phrase meaning ‘wake up to yourself!’ of course! – thus what we say, what comes out of our mouths is that thing that could seriously take us to Hellfire.
- Hence, a small meat on the body has huge affects: it can take you to a lot of good or take you to a lot of bad.
- Luqman al-Hakim (as) was asked by his leader/master to slaughter a sheep and to bring back its best part so he brought back its tongue. Luqman al-Hakim was then later asked by his leader/master to slaughter a sheep and to bring back its worst part so he brought back its tongue. > Amazed he was by his master why he brought back the tongue – what’s the point of all this? What was he trying to say? Reply: how beautiful this tongue can be if it wants to be and how ugly it can be when it wants to be. >>> the wisdom behind the story was to show how serious and consequential the tongue is and what it speaks. This is its power.
- The Prophet (saw) said:
|“No-one’s iman can be straight unless his heart his straight and no-one’s heart can be straight unless his tongue is straight…”||
لا يستقيم إيمان عبد حتى يستقيم قلبه، و لا يستقيم قلبه حتى يستقيم لسانه…
- There is a more serious point here: the Prophet said that: la yastaqimu imanu ahadikum hatta yataqima qalbu wa la yastaqimu qalbu ahadin hatta yastaqima lisanuhu (‘no-one’s iman can be straight unless his heart his straight and no-one’s heart can be straight unless his tongue is straight’) > the tongue is the translator or spokesman for the heart (tarjuman al-qalb); what’s good in the heart will come out good on the tongue and what’s bad in the heart will come out bad on the tongue.
- To know the state of our hearts (and our minds) all we have to do is examine what comes out of our tongues, i.e. the words we speak – if they are clean words, good words, nice words and words that carry the message of Allah and discuss about how to defend it and make it exalted, then it is an indication that our hearts are clean but if it our words are filthy, bad, unclean and always talking about films, soaps, girls, unlawful things then it is an indication that our hearts are not clean.
- 1. One word:
- the Prophet mentions in a hadith:
|“A slave may speak a word that pleases Allah without even thinking knowing it and it would be that Allah raises him in ranks and it may be that a slave speaks a word that angers Allah without knowing it and it would be that he is in the Hellfire [for a while]…”||
إن العبد ليتكلم بالكلمة من رضوان الله، لا يلقي لها بالا، يرفع الله بها درجات، وإن العبد ليتكلم بالكلمة من سخط الله، لا يلقي لها بالا ، يهوي بها في جهنم…
- With one negligent word, we could land ourselves in hellfire for 70 years – one word only. How many words do we speak a day without thinking? Without realising what effects this could have on us and others?
- Underestimating what we say and speak is extremely dangerous.
- With one word, we could land ourselves in paradise – one word only. How many words do we speak a day without thinking? Without realising what effects this could have on us and others?
- One word is the difference between: hellfire and paradise, divorce and marriage; belief and unbelief; accepting Islam or rejecting Islam; could make someone better or worse; could change the situation that helps Allah and his religion or harm it.
- 2. The believer’s tongue:
- The Prophet (saw) said:
|“Who believes in Allah and the last day let him either speak good or keep quite…”||
من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت…
- We should nurture a habit of speaking only that which benefits, helps, pleases Allah and His Messenger otherwise it is of no use, no benefit whatsoever.
- The Prophet describes the believer’s by his tongue:
|“[…] the believer does not curse nor defame, nor is he crass and filthy…”||
إن المؤمن ليس باللعان ولا الطعان ولا الفاحش ولا البذيء…
- Cursing: Muslims do not curse others; or anything including animals. Example: Jews saying to the Prophet, al-saamu `alaykum (‘poison be on you!’) and Aisha getting angry and cursing them back where the Prophet said we will not stand for that. We do not curse anyone >>> the believer has better morals than the non-believer; he is not like them in their morals; he has the best morals; his morals are given in the Shari`a by Allah and His Messenger and are the best of morals.
- Defaming: the believer does not accuse anyone or slanders them. He does not make claims about anyone and makes it his business. >>> one of the sahaba asked the Prophet for advice 3 times and the Prophet replied:
|“[the Prophet advised]: ‘do not curse anyone.’ [the companion] said: After that I never swore at anyone whether free or a slave, sheep or goat…”||
قال : لا تسبن أحدا . قال : فما سببت بعده حرا ولا عبدا ولا بعيرا ولا شاة…
- Shameful: a believer is not indecent; h/she does not speak ill, loathsome talk and reprehensible things. Haya’ (‘shame’) is the feeling of a believer. >>> Yet today we (especially our youth) chatting, talking, speaking with swear words, dirty words, rude words and disrespectful words. They find no problems in speaking in this way not knowing the serious consequences it has and how this is not the tongue of the believer.
- What we say has consequences.
- Each word is recorded and will be retrieved by Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment.
- Anything we say can have an impact on others without us ever realising it.
- A believer has the best conduct when speaking – even with his enemies.
*Peace and Blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, his Family and all his Noble Companions. Amin.*
 Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma`arif, p.305 and al-Hafiz al-`Iraqi, al-Mughni ‘an Hamal al-Asfar (on the margins of the Ihya’ of al-Ghazzali), 2:439.
 Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Kitab al-Tamhid, 24:333 (with a sahih isnad).
 Tirmidhi, Sunan (#2616).
 al-Hafiz al-`Iraqi, al-Mughni ‘an Hamal al-Asfar (on the margins of the Ihya’ of al-Ghazzali), 3:135.
 Bukhari, Sahih (#6478).
 Bukhari, Sahih (#6135).
 Ahmad, Musnad, 6/22.
 Abu Dawud, Sunan (#4084).